A £1 million boost to help the diverse haulage sector bolster its workforce and recruit new talent has been announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
The nationwide Road to Logistics programme aims to support those who may find it difficult to get permanent jobs, such as veterans, ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed, by putting them on a path to a career in transport.
Today’s investment by the Department for Transport will enable logistics companies to run essential skills training for these groups, including within the prison system, and help the industry to solve a nationwide shortage of drivers.
Employment in the transport and logistics sector has risen since 2010, but has seen a recent fall. There are currently almost 1.5 million people working in the industry.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our dynamic road transport sector moves more than 1.4 billion tonnes of goods across the country every year, so we need to make sure it is fit for the future.
“Not only will this new programme help make this industry even stronger, but it will help pave the way for those who may be struggling to secure a permanent job and turn their lives around.”
Founded by the Road Haulage Association and Microlise, Road to Logistics is a not-for-profit organisation open to all hauliers that will help them find new logistics professionals by offering support and training to those that struggling to find permanent employment.
Road Haulage Association Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: “Road to Logistics provides a framework for candidates to gain their entitlement to drive a HGVand fully support and mentor their transition into a career in logistics.
“It is fantastic that government is supporting an initiative that will help to resolve the shortage of drivers whilst providing a helping hand for those that need it the most.
“Following a successful trial with HMPrison Sudbury, the scheme aims to train up to 300 drivers in the first year as part of a pilot. The first-of-its-kind plan for the industry will see serving prisoners linked with potential employers, undertake crucial training and gain qualifications, including taking their driving test. They will have a guaranteed job on release, helping them turn their back on crime and transform their lives.”
The new programme will join a range of existing government interventions in place to remove the barriers faced by people who may find it difficult to secure long-term employment.